USI Data Release Cuts Red Tape

Date —

28 Feb 2020

Industry Sector/s —
Vocational Education & Training

Summary —

The Parliament has passed a Bill that will make it simpler for employers, employment agencies, licensing bodies and others to validate an individual's vocational education and training qualifications. Significantly, this legislation cuts red tape for independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

Key Issues —

The Student Identifiers Act 2014 creates a framework for the allocation of a unique student identifier (USI) to persons undertaking vocational education and training (VET).  This legislation also provides for the creation and administration of authenticated VET transcripts.  The USI and the management of authenticated transcripts are managed by a Registrar.

The legislation allows the Registrar, on request, to give a person who has been assigned a USI to access their authenticated transcript.  It also permits the Registrar to give an RTO or a VET-related body access to a person's authenticated VET transcript. However, the Registrar may only grant access to those entities in accordance with access controls set by the person to whom the transcript relates.

Since the activation of the USI Transcript Service, employers, employment agencies and licensing bodies have shown interest in accessing authenticated VET transcripts to verify an individual's qualifications and to streamline recruitment and application processes. However, at present access is restricted to RTOs and VET-related bodies. For other entities, transcripts can only be verified by contacting the relevant RTO, which is time consuming and represents a red tape compliance burden for independent providers.

Introduced into the parliament last year, the Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Bill 2019 (Cth), now having been passed, will make it simpler for employers, employment agencies, licensing bodies and others to validate an individual's VET qualifications. As such these amendments are intended to assist, in particular, the integrity of recruitment processes and applications for licenses in skilled professions and occupations.

To protect student data, and to secure the integrity of the USI framework, the legislation also introduces a civil penalty regime, which is enforceable through civil penalty provisions and the issue of infringement notices.  These provisions act as a deterrent to those who seek to apply for multiple USIs, alter authenticated transcripts (or extracts), or fraudulently represent that a document is an authenticated transcript (or extract).

Student’s privacy will be adequately protected under these changes to the USI regime as they may exercise access to their transcripts.  The new framework will be augmented by additional privacy safeguards that have been, or will be, implemented by departments and agencies.

In considering the Bill, the Senate’s Education and Employment Legislation Committee concluded that the proposed amendments to the 2014 Act through this amending Bill they were considering would enable a greater number of entities to access individuals' authenticated VET transcripts, subject to controls set by the individual. In the committee's view, these measures are likely to improve transparency in the VET sector, reduce the regulatory burden, and enhance the integrity and efficiency of recruitment processes for skilled occupations and professions. It was the committee's recommendation that the Bill be passed, and it passed the Senate without amendment on 27 February.

 

Member Engagement —

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.

Further Information —

For more information on this issue please send an email to vocational.education@iteca.edu.au or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.


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